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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Of Blogs and Boogeymen – Today in Iraq

Today in Iraq is more of a news source than a blog. “But, it’s all just bad news!”, I’ll soon hear someone whining. Well, hell, lemme double check that. Yup, it’s pretty much all bad news. I’ll refrain from telling you whether or not that’s because almost everything happening in Iraq is bad or whether it’s just cherry picking of news. You Tell Me.© (Hah! Love how I used my copyrighted phrase? Take that Fox News!). Suffice it to say my view on this blog is 1) The people who keep up this blog obviously put a lot of time into getting practically everything that’s happening in Iraq at a given moment and 2) The ‘Commentary’ section of the blog gives you good insight as to what various editorials around the nation and world are saying about Iraq (whether you agree with them or not it’s good to know what they are saying).

Here’s my view on the whole good news/bad news thing: When the time comes that I’m getting only good news about anything I’ll start to feel like I’m living in some Soviet utopian nightmare. “But comrade”, the local party boss will say, “a half a loaf of bread a day is a feast fit for a king!” as I look down at my bit of moldy bread and realize that once again I’m gonna go hungry so Uncle Joe can afford another car. Given a choice between bad news and good news, I’ll take the bad news any day.

Yes, I know that good things are happening every day in Iraq. I know that kids are going to school and hospitals are being rebuilt. But, to paraphrase what someone else once said, “It was a sunny day in Dallas the day that Kennedy got shot, but most newspapers didn’t lead with the weather.” Damn right. Don’t show me a picture of some little girl going to school when her mom had to wear a burkha to go vote and her cousin just got blown up by some suicide bomber. That’s not much progress in my book.

So, Today in Iraq tells it to you straight – no embellishment, just the cold, hard steel. Remember, part of how the Bloogeyman works is to try to look at the cold, hard facts – or the worst-case scenario – it’s part of being “conservative”. For example, in the business world (where I work to put food on my family), to be conservative in your budget forecast or financial assumptions means to take the ‘most likely scenario’ and discount it. That is, take what you think is happening or might happen and knock it down a notch to see what happens if things don’t turn out as good as anticipated. Now, I’m not a military genius or anything like that, but if we finance people can plan for a worst-case scenario (in which all we lose is more dollars) then shouldn’t a military planner plan for a worst-case scenario (in which you lose more lives if something goes wrong).

A key foundation of capitalism is the fact that you must be rooted in reality. If your business is producing goods of inferior quality or high price, the market will make your business go bankrupt. No goody-goody communist subsidizing of your business to make it look like your plan is really working. We’re living in the real world! And if the basis of our capitalistic economy is to be rooted in reality, doesn’t it make sense to be rooted in reality in other parts of our life? That is why I prefer to keep one foot in reality and look at a worst-case scenario. When the worst-case scenario starts looking ok, then I know (just as in business) that we’ve got something pretty good on our hands.

The breadth and depth of information necessary to understand a situation and comprehend all of the future possibilities empowers one to make decisions that effect what will really happen in the future. The essence of that power lies in information and deduction. Today in Iraq does an admirable job of putting together about as much information on a pressing topic in today’s world that one needs to feel informed. For that reason the Bloogeyman recommends Today in Iraq.